Best Memory Foam Pillow for Back and Neck Pain 2019
Pillow choice is a major concern for people living with chronic neck pain. Pillows that offer adequate levels of support and pressure relief can greatly improve sleep quality, leading to more comfort and fewer disruptions during the night. The wrong pillow can have the opposite effect – and may actually exacerbate the sleeper’s aches and pains.
Pillow loft (or thickness) is an important consideration for all sleepers, particularly those with frequent neck pain. Pillows that are too thin can cause the head to fall back too far, putting a strain on the neck as well as the shoulders, while excessively thick pillows affect how closely the neck and spine are aligned.
Material composition is another variable to consider. Some pillow materials offer closer conforming and more pressure relief than others. A high-quality pillow that supports your neck while you sleep can help. A pillow that helps support the natural curvature of your spine is the best.
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The type of pillow you want may depend on your specific needs. We’ll walk you through 10 options.
The K Ka Ua Cervical Bolster Pillow helps cradle the neck, but it can also support your back, knees, and other joints.
Details: It’s 4 inches thick and provides firm memory foam support. The bamboo-polyester cover is hypoallergenic and machine washable. Bonus: This pillow is also small enough to fit into a carry-on for travel.
Pros: People who’ve tried this bolster like that it can be used with or without a regular pillow. One reviewer shared that he’s been “90 percent pain-free” since using the K Ka Ua.
Cons: A few others complain that the bolster is too firm to provide relief and may actually create more back and neck pain.
The EPABO Memory Foam Pillow is an option for people looking for firm support.
Details: This pillow is contoured to provide ergonomic support that aligns your head, neck, shoulders, and back. The company explains that in the first two weeks of use, people may experience some discomfort as their body adjusts to using the pillow.
Pros: This pillow is a bestseller with many positive reviews giving high marks to its firm support and high density. One reviewer shares that it’s great for people who move around a lot from their back to their side overnight.
Cons: Another explains that the pillow “sleeps hot” and the neck support may be too high to be comfortable.
The Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow is a popular choice with people who sleep in any position.
Details: Its fill is a shredded memory foam that allows you to customize the support. The vented bamboo cover is designed to help keep your head cool at night and is resistant to dust mites, making it a solid choice for people who deal with allergies.
Pros: Reviewers share that the fill is firm, yet soft and very comfortable, and a perfect mix of firm and giving.
Cons: Others share that the pillow is a bit heavy and that it has a distinct chemical smell that lingers.
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The DOWNLITE Extra Soft Down Pillow is a duck down pillow perfect for people looking for soft support.
Details: Its flat design makes it a smart choice for stomach or face sleepers who deal with neck pain. The filling is made from down. Bonus: You can machine wash and dry this hypoallergenic pillow.
Pros: Those who’ve tried this pillow share that it compresses flat enough to be comfortable while stomach sleeping, but that it’s fluffy and cradles the neck. Others like that it “sleeps cool” and comfortable throughout the night.
Cons: A few people say the pillow is too flat and may not be a good choice if you move sleeping positions often.
Nature’s Guest Cervical Support Pillow is especially useful for people who move from side to back while sleeping. It may be one to try if you frequently have headaches in the morning.
Details: The sides of the pillow are higher than the middle to provide a neck support. The pillow itself is adjustable, so you can set the degree of firmness by removing or adding stuffing. The cotton cover is hypoallergenic and the filling is microfiber. There are no flame retardants or other harmful chemicals used in manufacturing.
Pros: Reviewers agree that this pillow is well made. One even went so far as to say that it “changed her life” by banishing her morning headaches. Others enjoy being able to adjust the fill to get the support “just right” for their needs.
Cons: A few people noted that you do need to fluff this pillow to maintain its support as it tends to go flat over time.
The Sleep Artisan Luxury Side Sleeper Pillow is filled with a proprietary blend of organic latex and down alternative microfiber that’s both antimicrobial and hypoallergenic.
Details: The pillow’s shape is unique in that it’s a narrow rectangle with a curve on one side to mimic how many side sleepers scrunch standard pillows to support the neck. There are no petroleum-based chemicals or strong odors. As with other pillows, you can add or take away filling for adjustable support.
Pros: People who have tried this pillow share that the unique shape makes it comfortable not only for the neck, but also for the shoulders, arms, and wrists. They also like that it maintains a “neutral” temperature throughout the night.
Cons: A few explain that the fill takes some getting used to and it may feel lumpy or “pebbly.” Others don’t like that you need to remove the filling before washing.
The B.E.D. INNOVA Memory Foam Pillow in Medium may be a good choice for back sleepers, as it helps keep your spine straight, cradling your neck and allowing your head to rest in a lower position.
Details: It has built-in bolsters to support the cervical spine. The memory foam material is resistant to dust mites and other parasites that can trigger asthma and allergies. The company says you don’t have to get used to using this pillow.
Pros: Reviewers like stitching and overall quality.
Cons: One person shared that the pillow had an overpowering odor out of the package.
The Belly Sleep Memory Foam Pillow is designed to be especially thin and flat – ideal for people who sleep on their stomachs.
Details: Its edges are curved to help reduce head and neck rotation, and to reduce pressure points that contribute to pain. The memory foam material is infused with cooling gel. It’s also hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites.
Pros: People who’ve tried this pillow explain that it’s different sleeping on such a flat pillow at first. Over time, the thin design makes sense and provides a lot of relief. One reviewer even said he’ll “never use another pillow ever again.”
Cons: Others share that this pillow doesn’t work so well if you switch positions during the night.
The Holy Lamb Organics Orthopedic Neck Pillow may be the priciest option, but it’s handmade in the United States.
Details: It was designed in collaboration with a chiropractic physician and features two neck bolsters – one thick and one thin – on each side. Each pillow is made to order and comes with an organic cotton pillowcase.
Pros: Reviewers share that this pillow doesn’t have any chemical odors and that the quality craftsmanship makes it worth the cost.
Cons: A couple of people share that they wish the pillow had a bit more stuffing.
Buckwheat pillows have been used for hundreds of years and are still a favorite in Japan. The Sobakawa Buckwheat Pillow gets high marks for keeping your head cool while you sleep.
Details: This pillow supports the head and neck to help prevent stiffness and headaches. The hulls shift and rise at the neck area, allowing your head to sink into proper alignment.
Pros: One reviewer shares that this pillow “worked wonders” even after experiencing whiplash from a car accident. Another reviewer with chronic neck pain explained that her pain went away after just one night using the pillow.
Cons: The only noted downside is that it may be hard to get used to sleeping on buckwheat hulls if you’re used to fiber or feather-filled pillows.